Peugeot has begun a programme of replacing vehicles used by the charity Guide Dogs to transport its dogs.
A key element of the replacement programme is to ensure that by 2022, all cars used to transport dogs and handlers will be replaced by specially-adapted, multi-purpose Peugeot vans.
The manufacturer says the new vehicles will be able to perform multiple roles and offer increased capacity for carrying dogs.
The Peugeot vans include Expert and Expert Crew Van conversions, which will be joined by around 40 all-new Peugeot Partner Crew Vans later this year.
Guide Dogs has already taken delivery of 40 Expert Long Professional models, 29 of which have been converted to transport up to eight puppies at a time, during the early months of the puppies’ lives.
The remaining vans are specially converted Crew Van models designed to carry up to four dogs, as well as their professional guide dog mobility instructors and eventually their partners, during their training programme.
The vans have been converted by James Alpe of Clitheroe, Lancashire, specialists in producing conversions for transporting dogs.
The Expert Crew Vans are equipped with glazed, twin sliding doors to access the folding second row seat. This seat, equipped with three point seatbelts in all positions, can carry up to three people and can be folded forward to provide additional storage space or provide access to the dog cages from the front, instead of the rear of the vehicle, giving alternative emergency access to the cages if needed.
The cages provide room for the dogs to travel in comfort, says Peugeot. Both panel vans and crew vans are equipped with the optional tailgate in place of twin rear doors, to give shelter when the dogs leave and enter the cages. The cages are also equipped with both temperature monitoring and video cameras to ensure the wellbeing of the animals.
Karen Mumford, operations support manager at Guide Dogs, said: “Dog welfare is paramount to Guide Dogs, so we are delighted that these vans will help us transport our life-changing dogs in comfort and safety, enabling us to reach more people with sight loss with our services.”
Groupe PSA fleet director Martin Gurney added: “The versatility of the Peugeot Expert range and Crew Van in particular is perfectly demonstrated by the vans we have delivered to Guide Dogs over the past few months. “
“We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Guide Dogs and to help them develop the best means of transporting their trainers, service users and dogs safely and efficiently.”
The specific Expert Crew Vans provided to the Guide Dogs are not part of the commercialised range in the UK, but have been supplied by Peugeot's specialist fleet department.